Obama's Failure of Moral Courage

Which brings us to Iran. George W. Bush, for all of his flaws, understood the importance of taking some sort of decisive action in the Mideast at large, and he wisely chose not to invade Iran (the terror masters) but to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Wisely, because Iran would have been very difficult to attack. Moreover, the attack would have lacked any international support, would have antagonized Russia, and would have antagonized an increasingly pro-American Iranian populace. Our invasion of Afghanistan was logical, as was our invasion of Iraq insofar as there were UN resolutions in place and President Bill Clinton was already authorized by Congress to remove Saddam Hussein. Iraq is a flat plain, ideal for mechanized warfare, and would physically split Iran and Syria -- the two major supporters of terrorism. It also put U.S. forces on either side of the Islamic Republic. Once in place, America was positioned to strangle the regime economically and isolate it in other ways. It was the hope of the Bush administration that such proximity -- and the flow of information into Iran -- would lead to precisely what we are witnessing today with the public rising against the government.

This should have been fostered by special ops and by a Contra-style solution: train, arm, and supply enemies of the regime to foment revolution. Unfortunately, Bush and Donald Rumsfeld wanted a smaller "footprint," which made it impossible to stabilize Iraq, so the revolutionary government in Iran did to us what we should have done to them, sending jihadists across the border and training and arming the "insurgents."

Lukewarm support of Musharraf's government has now destabilized Afghanistan, even while we have largely won in Iraq.

Still, it was Bush's surge that ultimately stabilized Iraq (the collapse of oil prices didn't hurt either, a result of Bush policy) and the collapse of the insurgency has emboldened the Iranian people, who are being shot in the streets not in opposition to Ahmadinejad but in opposition to the theocracy in general. The lynchpin may have been a stolen election, but the underlying cause is the strict Sharia imposed by the mullahs. These people -- once educated, Westernized, and prosperous -- have tired of living under the thumbs of the clerics. They have been waiting a long time for their moment of truth.

American moral support at this moment could well turn a kindled flame into a conflagration.

Obama, contemptuous of such moral courage and imbibed with his visions of worldwide apologism and conflict resolution, cannot bring himself to mount such moral support. Perhaps his easy friendship and Islamic roots (his father being Muslim and his being educated in an Islamic school in Indonesia) are a factor, but the core of this is the sense of moral relativism that comes from a disdain for the concept of courage; in a world full of shades of gray it is unseemly to take black-and-white stands. In his view, we have no right to interfere because we are guilty of plenty ourselves.

In short, Obama is a coward, at least as far as moral concepts are concerned. He cannot be otherwise and hold the beliefs that he does.

Remember during the campaign when he spoke of Pakistan, suggesting we invade to chase down the Taliban? Strong words, but why hasn't he backed this up? He was trying to show himself strong, but now that he is presented with this very scenario, he hides because he cannot justify such actions as a result of his worldview. No, his answer is to bow to the Saudi king, to apologize for everything America has done, and to hope that by making nice the world will understand we mean them no harm and will make nice back. In short, his entire foreign policy is based on All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. This is the Barney the Dinosaur presidency.

And as a result of this failure of moral courage, the Iranian revolution will likely fizzle and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan will be for naught. There was a real chance to make permanent changes in this powder keg part of the world, but the feckless fear of the current administration, the refusal to see the world for what it is, condemns the Iranians -- and by extension the rest of the region -- to the iron boot of fundamentalist Islam. We have missed our chance through lack of moral courage.

But what did Americans expect when we knowingly elected a man who promised to end the war? This failure is ultimately on the part of the American people, a result of people growing tired of war. In the final analysis, who are the cowards here?